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The 10 Hours or Less Story with George Shaheen

April 6, 2014

George Shaheen got an early start on his current career.  Very early.  He sold his first original knitting pattern to a young company when he was just 13!  In fact, he was able to earn some spending money for himself throughout high school by freelance designing.  The road from there to starting the House of Shaheen, Inc. publishing company was a winding one, but it seems he has ended up in the place he needed to be.

Gorgeous crochet pattern George designed using Darn Good Yarn

George got his start when he found an old “How to Crochet” booklet in a closet of his home when he was just 12 years old.  He was truly “hooked” from then on!  He loves both knitting and crochet, but didn’t look immediately to make a career out of them.  He got a BA in Business Psychology and went on to get a Master’s degree as well.  While he was working in a more corporate setting, he began doing freelance design work once again.  While doing freelance work for others, he started really wanting more creative control over the designs.  He also was tired of feeling like a “cog in the machine” of the corporate world.  He made the bold decision of quitting his job, moving to another state, and starting up House of Shaheen, Inc. publishing company to produce his “10 Hours or Less” patterns.  If you want to learn more about the business side of 10 Hours of Less, make sure to check out the blog I wrote about that here.

Like a majority of crafters, George played around with many different crafts.  He has tried his hand at tatting, cross-stitching, and needlepoint.  He also trained in Fashion Design, where he learned pattern design, drafting, and construction.  However, knitting and crocheting remain his favorite mediums.  His detail-rich, intricate and elegant patterns are available on his website, 10hoursorless.com.  During our interview, I asked the question which may have occurred to you by now – “How do you know the patterns are going to take 10 hours or less?”  I thought perhaps he would have some pattern testers, or some sort of magical 6th sense about patterns not known to us mere mortals. :)   I was surprised to learn it’s all about math!  He determines the number of stitch movements per pattern, and divides that by the number of stitches the average person can do per minute.  These numbers change based on yarn weight and needle size as well, so it’s no easy process!  While not every single knitter or crocheter will finish every pattern in the predicted 10 hours, the vast majority of them will!  This self-imposed time restriction forces him to be extra creative with the designs.  He describes it like this, “Imagine someone tells you have 1,000 lines that you can use to draw a picture – you could draw almost anything.  It’s very different if you only have 10 lines.”

10 Hours or Less knitting pattern using Darn Good Yarn

I also asked George if he had ever gotten any really strange pattern requests.  Apparently, he had.  He has lent his design skills to creating a miniature dress for a Martha Washington doll.  “When I was a freelance designer, I never turned down work,” he recalls.  “Everything you try can have a benefit, and you can learn something from every project.”  Very true!  One of the most important lessons he has learned is to, “Play with the yarn, let it speak to you, then design.”

10 Hours or Less will be featuring one more pattern using Darn Good Yarn which will premier this Tuesday, April 8th.  You can also use the coupon code DGY20 until then to get 20% off of George’s lovely patterns!  You can support George’s innovative designs by following 10 Hours or Less on Ravelry and Facebook as well.

Enjoy the fabulous patterns and Happy Crafting!

Marissa :)

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